Jeremy Hellickson took a perfect game bid into the top of the 7th inning before Travis Jankowski hit a leadoff single. Clayton Richard went eight innings, allowing just three earned runs while striking out eight and allowing zero walks.
San Diego, California:
The San Diego Padres came into Tuesday night’s game looking to tie the series at 1-1. However, they were blown away from the beginning as the Washington Nationals and Jeremy Hellickson came out the gates with a different mindset.
Hellickson rode a perfect game into the top of the 7th inning, striking out seven and walking none before Travis Jankowski stepped to the plate. The speedy 26-year-old outfielder has filled the leadoff role nicely for the Padres the last few games, a spot on the lineup that has been a struggle to fill every night.
Jankowski allowed the fans to breathe at Petco Park as he drove a line drive single up the middle to break up the perfect game bid and prevent the Padres from being no-hit for the second time this week. After that hit, Eric Hosmer went down swinging and Christian Villanueva flew out to left field. Franchy Cordero cracked a loud line drive single, bringing Jankowski from first to third and filling the stadium with hope.
At this point in the game, with the Nationals up 3-0 and in the middle of a pitching change, everyone in the stadium was waiting to see if Jose Pirela could crack the donut on the scoreboard for the Padres and get the game within reach. However, to what seemed to be no one’s surprise, Pirela grounded out to former Padre Trea Turner to end the inning.
The Padres would only get two more runners on base after that for the rest of the game. Both were left stranded.
But that’s enough of the negative, there has been plenty of that so far this season. Let’s turn to the main positive of the game; Clayton Richard.
Richard started off the game sitting down the top of the lineup, striking out two (Harper, Rendon) of the three. In the second inning, he allowed a leadoff single before sitting down the next three batters, two by way of the strikeout. The third and fourth innings were both 1-2-3 innings for Richard as he continued to make slight work of the Nationals’ lineup.
The fifth inning is when things started to get a little shaky for Richard. He allowed three consecutive hits that led to two runs being scored to start the inning. After a mound visit, he sat down the next three batters, ending the inning by striking out Bryce Harper for the second time in the night.
The Padres locked up Richard last year on a two-year contract with the hopes that he would have outings just like this one. This was also a great bounce-back start for Richard as he allowed six earned runs in just four innings in his last start.
Richard does, however, manage to get the short end of the stick with almost every start he gets, and he got it again tonight. One day the Padres’ bats will repay him for all his hard work on the mound. That day was not today as he must now sit back and wait for his next start to get another chance at the win column.